November 26, 2010

David Lynch's PlayStation Ads

In 2000, David Lynch, director of a number of surreal and often frightening feature films like "Eraserhead" and "Blue Velvet," was hired to produce several advertisements for the release of the PlayStation 2. It might seem a bizarre decision, but Lynch has actually done many, many commercials over time, and though they are mostly avant-garde in nature, this ad campaign can hardly be said to have negatively affected the sales of this extremely successful video game console. The ad campaign was titled "The Third Place." Embedded here are YouTube videos of each ad with some short commentary.

"I Am the Wolfman"

"A Resilient Bambi"

"Rabbits" or "What Dreams May Come"

"Blind Leading the Blind"

"Overboard" or "Into the Chum"

"Jimmy Dynamite"

As far as I know this one's untitled... The most obviously Lynchian and strange of the ads, it uses all the abstract imagery and dark noisy sound design you could ask for in an ad. This one really evades analysis, which I have to assume is its point.

So the overall theme is that the PlayStation 2 opens a new world with different rules, one in which the player is in control and able to explore. And the ads are no doubt pretty eye-catching if nothing else.

Apparently, these ads were successful enough that Sony decided to keep with abstract, alienating, somewhat frightening ads when they released the PlayStation 3 many years later, without David Lynch directing. Check out this creepy one:

Those ads crashed and burned very quickly, and now PlayStation ads are centered around VP of everything Kevin Butler, a simpler, funnier concept for each ad that is generally well-liked. So may as well toss in one more video here to finish off this post, this one Kevin Butler talking about the PlayStation Move.